Interning (Not Studying) Abroad

By Clare O’Keefe

     Study abroad programs have become more and more popular on many college campuses nation wide. The lesser-known, and quickly growing program, called interning abroad is a different way of getting the abroad experience that so many college students desire.

Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) students participate in a multitude of study abroad programs yearly. More recently, interning abroad has become popular with the program that is growing more and more each year. This summer, I was fortunate enough to intern abroad in Dublin, Ireland for three months. With the help of the Career Center and the Study Abroad office, I was able to get an internship at the public relations agency; Heneghan PR.

I didn’t know much about interning abroad, so I assumed that it would be similar to studying abroad. What no one told me about interning abroad was that it forces you to grow up and become an adult faster than you could ever expect. I was working 40-hour weeks, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday- Friday. The difference between studying and interning abroad is that while I interned, I truly learned about Ireland and the culture.

Working in a small Irish office, I quickly immersed myself in the “Irish’’ way of life.  In my office there were only nine employees, so I got to know everyone really well. They included me in almost everything, and really made sure that I understood and learned what public relations is.

I found myself learning mannerisms, quirks, sayings, and the history of Ireland and their people. I did not just work in Ireland, but Ireland became my home. Studying abroad gives someone the opportunity to discover the world, however, interning abroad gives someone the opportunity to discover a new home.

I lived in an apartment with six other students from all around the world. Some were from France, Spain, Italy and some were actually from Ireland. Living in such a diverse apartment really helped me grow. Most of the people coming in did not speak English and were in Dublin to learn to speak the English language. One can imagine how difficult it was trying to explain the definition of the word ‘’both’’ or that a plumber is not a “plumper.”

As frustrating as it may have been at times, I now look back and just laugh. I am so fond of all the different people I met who touched my life. I went into interning abroad thinking that I was going to get great work experience and meet new people. While yes, this was all true, I also learned so much more.

It’s great to succeed at your job at home, but to succeed at a job in a different country and receive positive feedback, is unlike anything else. My confidence has grown since I first started my job. I now take each step with more confidence and pride.

The confidence I gained in Ireland is something that I will never lose.  It will forever be apart of me because this was the summer I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I find myself smiling at strangers, saying yes to new adventures, and wanting to do more with my life.  Interning abroad has allowed me to feel in control of my life, and I feel that I am able to do whatever I set my mind too.

Overall, my experience while interning abroad made me realize that I can accomplish my dreams. I let myself out of my comfort zone, but found that my discomfort turned into adventure, laughter, smiles, tears and memories that I will hold on to forever.

 

 

If you’d like more information on interning abroad, visit the Career Center office in Aquinas Room 151!